A gunman opened fire early Tuesday morning on San Antonio buildings where ICE and its contractors have offices, in the latest incident that appears to target the law enforcement agency that handles deportations.
Both U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and GEO Group, a major contractor for ICE, said they were targets of the attack, which left windows shattered at two buildings.
One of the buildings housed both ICE’s Enforcement and Removal operations office in the city and GEO Group’s office. The other building housed another ICE contractor.
“These shootings were cowardly, brazen, violent acts, absolutely without justification and a threat to our entire community,” said Christopher Combs, the FBI’s special agent in charge in San Antonio. “An attempt to attack federal employees is a federal crime with serious consequences. The FBI will relentlessly pursue every lead in this case to find the individuals who are responsible.”
Daniel Bible, the field office director for ICE’s deportation operations in San Antonio, blamed lawmakers and the press for recklessly stoking anti-ICE sentiments.
“This disturbing public discourse shrouds our critical law enforcement function and unnecessarily puts our officers’ safety at risk,” Mr. Bible said in a statement.
The shooting happened about 3 a.m. While property was damaged, no injuries were reported.
The attack comes amid increased to domestic terrorism — though the media’s focus has largely been on alleged right-wing attacks. Yet this week’s shooting is part of a string of attacks involving ICE.
Last month, a man armed with an AR-15-style rifle and homemade bombs attacked an ICE processing center in Tacoma, Washington. That facility was also associated with GEO Group. Willem Van Spronsen attempted to use the bombs to light a propane tank, and police who responded shot and killed him.
On Monday, meanwhile, protesters rallied outside GEO Group’s Florida headquarters, calling out employees by name in what the company said felt like an attempt at intimidation.
The Free Beacon reported that the protesters, associated with Never Again Action, also called out an employee’s address and church, and “the fact they knew where their children lived.”
ICE offices in Portland, Oregon, were blockaded and shut down for more than a month last year by a protest camp. Federal officials said threats against ICE workers from the antifa protesters were a routine occurrence.
ICE officials say they’re victims of a misinformation campaign that has made their jobs — and the country — less safe.
“Political rhetoric and misinformation that various politicians, media outlets and activist groups recklessly disseminate to the American people regarding the ICE mission only serve to further encourage these violent acts,” Mr. Bible said.
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